tv Consider This Al Jazeera August 29, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
welcome to al jazeera. here is the latest on syria. u.s. officials were briefed by the obama administration, and one congressman is saying obama is still weighing its option. the officials told lawmakers that intercepts of communications prove that they used chemical weapons. >> the jay toss the right. 272, the nos to the left, 285. >> british lawmakers said no to an attack on syria tonight, it was a major defeat, he had tried to persuade parliament that an armed response to the use of chemical wells was the right course of action. >> i strongly believe in the
need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons, but i also believe in respecting the will of this house of commons. it is very clear tonight, while the house has not passed a motion, it is clear to me that the british apartment reflecting the views of the people does not want to see british militarya. i get that and the government will act accordingly. >> u.s. defense secretary is in h the philippines tonight. we will have the latest information on our newscast at 11:00 eastern time. consider this, is next. >> the high cost of low wages.
fast food worker pros test across america against low pay and a constant state of poverty. but consider this, would giving into their demands bring unintended consequences for workers in also, britain's apartment says no to a syrian intervention. what impact will have that on president obama's decision. the justice department surf surprising reversal of marijuana enforcement. and the nfl settle add class action lawsuit with thousands of former plays over the devastating medical consequences of playing football. the america's number one spot get off easy? or should players have known what they were getting into. welcome to consider this, we begin with fast food workers strikes across the u.s. demanding higher pay and the right to unionize. fast food companies say raising wages could lead to fewer jobs and higher prices on menus. >> fast food workers are calling
for a hike in their way. >> the federal minimum wage of $7.25 to $15. >> 25-year-old live with her mother to save money. they join these protestors in union scare, because she says her job at kentucky fried chick season hardly enough to support their family. >> i work $8 an hour. and i have to choose between eating and paying rent, or me eating and my kids eating. of course, as a mother,ly choose my children. >> these protests come as some members of congress and the white house call for a higher federal minimum wage, but most proposals seek a lower increase in the ones these workers want. >> president obama has proposed a national increase to $9 an hour. thatworks out to $18,500 a year. stimender the poverty line for a family of three. the current minimum wage of
$7.25 works it oto around $15,000 a year. the protestors say anything below $15 an hour, won't give them what they call a living wage. >> we cannot survive on $7.25, $8, $9. 15-dollars is what we are asking for, and we aren't going to back down. >> i pay my rent, i get food, i get clothes is transportation. >> fast food companies insist they offer good jobs and opportunities for growth. saying in a statement that would potentially have a negative impact on employment and business growth in our restaurants. as well as value for our customers. >> the protests were announced in advance giving managers time to adjust their staffing, but organizers say the strikes have shut down some restaurants in cities like chicago, detroit, and seattle. roxanne that, al jazeera, new york. >> so what is considered a living wage in this country?
broken down state by state, it includes the cost of basics, shelter, food, healthcare. the 4 million people working at fast food restaurants today, get an average yearly samurai of $15,000. should they be paid more? a single mother of three who worked at kfc and will be back at work tomorrow, she is the our berkeley california studio. and peter an economist and professor at the university of maryland he joins us from our washington, d.c. studio. thank you for being with us. i want to start with you, with enyo uh look at what constitutes a living wage, where you live, you probably are not getting very far on your salary you have three kids in oakland texas minimum wage is $8 an hour, and the living wage for a full time worker is supposed to be $11.51. that is just for one person, not for a family of four. how do you and your coworkers manage. >> that's a good question. we basically the majority of us
workers in these industries we depend on public assistance to make up the difference. where these companies are basically just stealing from us. i and myself depend on food statutes just to be able to feed myself and my chin. and it comes down to the point where one of my workers in new york fellow workers just explained in that newscast, that she has to determine who she is going to feed, he is or her child. and that's sad we have to make the decision to where we have to feed our child, before we can feed ourselves, and we are the actual individual that is going in here and conducting these -- or should i say providing the services to everyone in the nation and we're cleaning up, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning lobbies lifting heavy things.
and go to work hungry every day. every day. >> congress last voted to raise the minimum wage in 2007, president obama's call to increase it to $9 an hour, has gone nowhere. he addressed the cage issue on wednesday. during the celebrations of the march on washington. >> for over a decade, working americans of all races have seen the wages and income stagnant. even as the pay of a fortunate few explodes, inequality has steadily risen over the decades. upward mountain has become harder. >> peter, even mcdonalds somewhat by accident, in an online thing trying to guide workers as to how to pud jet their money, acknowledged that workers couldn't live on just one job. would getting to $9 make a difference? >> it would make a difference. any amount would make a
difference. the living wage computations are flawed at times. but to matter how you compute it, or go about it, the present minimum waged is $7.50 doesn't make sense for any individual to live on. i think it is important to consider that it's going to have differential effects across industries if you try to say double the minimum wage to $15 an hour. despite mcdonalds predictions, i don't think that bying $15 an hour would be the end of the world at mcdonalds. because the cost of the labor in a value meal that is 6-dollars is probably $1.50. so if you double that, the value meal becomes $7.50. how would they react, well, by automating and they can probably relewis that cost increase of say $7. so a happy meal will go by about
a dollar. but in the process of automating they would also be laying off employees. >> that means fewer jobs. >> fewer works. >> you can't get around that. i would say this, that the reduction wouldn't be as large as you think, because there are few substitutes for it. the alternative is to bring food from home or a hot dog from a street vendor. it isn't like a mid range restaurant raising its prices. >> are you concerned that there would be cut jobs and automation might make it even tougher for workers to find work. >> no, i'm not concerned. because that once again, is misleading information. mcdonalds alone crossed
two-point -- i think $5 billion last year. and their c.e. o.s are making $5,000 an hour. and all they have to do was raise or distribute 21 cents through their whole spire menu and they can still afford to pay every worker in this whole nation $15 an hour. >> peter let's look at the history of the minimum wage. if you adjust for inflation, it is very low compared to where it has been historically. where it was instituted back in 1936, it was 25 cents an hour. only about $4 sen cents. buppie 1968, it has gone up quickly, it went up quickly early, and it was at $1.60, which adjusted for inflation today, would be $10.70. quite a bit more, so -- it does seem like companies have been able to handle a higher minimum wage in the past.
>> well, they have. it is a different economy in the 60's than it is now. one of the -- many factors that play here. one of them is this is frankly a more depressed economy, and these companies are facing a lot more competition and so forth. now mcdone malleds doesn't compete with imports. i have luked at this issue. i have gone back as far as we have data for wages of workers in general. and what i have found is that the president's proposal is quite reasonable. in terms of at least raising it to $9 or so an hour. i am not saying that's a living wage, but that would make it in 1960, when we first started checking wage data. how does the minimum wage compare to the average wage that people are being paid. i think that this movement is
doing itself a disservice by saying $15 an hour, and using a lot of heavy handed rhetoric. because there's a lot of people out there that are making $12 an hour. that would not benefit from mcdonalds giving its employee as raise. very different than raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour. >> how do you react to that? if you look at numbers we looked a what college students are making now. starting average starting salaries for college graduates. and graduates in the humanities and social sciences barely would make more than $15 an hour. so if fast food workers are going to that level, do you understand the comparison the why got to college for four years if you aren't going to make much more money. >> well -- i'm pretty sure the whole nation know knows that yoo have college graduates that obtain add degree, and whatever field they obtained that degree
in, they are actually competing with us fast food workers that barely have the education, the high school education, more or less, the degrees from a university. so what do you say to that? >> now people to have degrees, that are competing with fast food workers do not have a degree. >> because they can't get other jobs, but peter, what do you say to that comparison? the average social studies humanities student makes about $37,000 a year. so it devalues the value of college. >> on an hour basis it is probably more. if you get a job in the humanities or social sciences that using your diploma you will end up working more than zero hour as week. the reality is that most people that wear a tie, work many more than zero 40 hour as week for the income they get. which makes some of these
comparisons less valid. my point is that if the demands was perceived to be more reasonable, reasonable is a funny word, but if it was perceived to be more reasonable, folks might be more receptive. but at the end of the day, lit be very very difficult to get the support of someone working in an independent hardware store who makes 11 or $12 an hour to say yes, sean da should get 15 for serving hamburgers. it is doing to be very very difficult. unfortunately, this movement is more going on here than just $15 an hour. it is the labor movement. they are trying to essentially recruit workers get union cards things of that nature, and the impact on mcdonalds will be far greater than the $15 an hour, because they will bring everything else. before you know it you will have work rules. where someone that makes fries can't flip a hamburger, someone who flips a hamburger. >> some people would argue that's a good thing.
>> well, those are the rules that general motors out of business, i would point out to you. >> also created all sorts of issues. unions at times have protected, whoers so it is one of those balances acts. let's talk about what the fast food industry is saying. they are saying that they are defending themselveses by saying -- the fact is only 5% of restaurant employees any the minimum wage, and those who do are working part time, half are teenagers. on the other hand, that may have been historically the case, but now the numbers seem to show the average age is 35. is that what you are seeing? are most of your coworkers people who have families? >> yes, sir. as a matter of fact, there are three other co, whoers that i work with including myself, that are in that age bracket, with the family.
where do you think this will end up? >> let me say, as some of the demands are maybe more excessive than they should be. some of the arguments coming out of mcdonalds are ludicrous, and you just saw an example of that. i guess it is tough for me to say where i think it will come out. i think in the end what may happen is these workers do get organized and they get a union, and they get a contract. and they are going to settle for something less than $15 an hour, but will improve their circumstances. i can't help but believe this will improve the circumstances of fast food workers but some sense of justice, but the motion that someone is making $7.50 an hour in my hometown in new york city, in manhattan is ludicrous. i think there is some sympathy for improvement, i may not go all the way to 15. >> thank you very much for joining us tonight.
>> a catastrophe, and warned that if there were no consequences asaad and other dictators could use tockic chemicals again and again. it was about the large scale use of chemical weapons and our response to a war crime. >> is a military strike the best way to enforce what president obama is calling international norms. and what sort of record do they have in using military force to resolve crisis. for more on that, joining me is p.j. crowley, a professor at george washington university, and a former assistance secretary of state. from portland oregon is moo mike young, director of the mideast programs for the international rescue committee. thank you for joining me tonight. guys p.j. i want to start with you, are you surprised the u.s. has so few friends on this issue? is it wise for the u.s. to go it alone, if the president decides to attack. >> i this i that in any military
operation the united states will all the have the preponderance of military power. so we have the capability to do wayneeds to be done. to redeem the red line if you will. is it wise to go it alone. >> well, that remains to be seen. obviously any time you want to have a coalition, and have it be as wide as possible. it provides legitimatesy to what you are trying to do. i do think that the more critical voices will be in the middle east. countries like turkey, that are demanding some kind of response to what has happened. ten there's different levels of support. i don't think it is a military challenge, but obviously this raises the political cost to the president because the britains have voted not to participate. >> in 2005, the u. n. establish admit tee that looked into the international committees.
and release add report that led to a doctrine that was called the responsibility to protect. and that policy says that states must protect populations from or stop massive atrocity crimes, the international community has the responsibility to assist states in stopping those. that military intervention is a last resort, and that the u.n. has the sole authority. might you have been to the refugee camps, you have seen what a catastrophe is going on there, many syria. does the u.s. have a responsible to protect syrian civilians. >> i think the national community as a whole. and al to offer humanitarian assistance. let me get this straight, we are a humanitarian aid organization, and the responsibility to protect a very powerful doctrine, but it is for those governments involved in debating
intervention for those policy makers like mr. crowley to pass whether responsibility to protect applies in this situation, and whether that leads to intervention. what we are focused on is another fundamental responsibility which is planning for the humanitarian consequences of any possible military action. and ensuring that we get vital aid to any refugees that might cross borders. and so syrians themselves that may be trapped. a a former policy maker yourself, do you think the quite has a responsibility to protect and to go into syria because of the again side that has been happening there? even if that policy was -- the responsibility to protect was supposed to be u.n. approval, which is certainly not forthcoming because othe russians and chinese. >> well, obviously the international community, including the united states invoked responsibility to protect in the context of libya.
there was a resolution, a commitment and participation through the arab league. and a successful intervention that stopped the civil war that was going on in that country. probably because of the success in libya, and the fact that the responsibility to protect was combined with regime change. you have a different context in syria and crow are not going to get the same conditions in syria. that said, certainly from an international community standpoint, when chemical weapons are used against the population of a country by their own government, there isn't an international norm there that demands an international response. and where the russians and chinese have effectively sidelined. it cannot be the sole arbiter of legitimacy.
i think there are means but he has to make that case, and build a political and military coalition that will make whatever happens as legitimate as possible. >> we have viewer questions coming in. thank you, antonio. a viewer asks what freedoms does cameron ask to act since members of parliament didn't authorize a strike? >> britain is a democracy, the united states is a democracy. and there should be consultations between the executive branch, and the legislative branch, and to the extent that the parliament is reflecting skepticism, or or reluctance, as the prime minister has said, with that vote, britain is going to support whatever happening politically. but not militarily.
that consultation is going on right now. there's a slightly different legal frame work based on law and experience over the past 30 years. but certainly, the president has outlined a potential limited operation, and part of that calculation is a reluctant on the part of the american people, and a lot of this has to do with the -- what happened ten years ago in terms of the intervention in iraq. so there is an iraq syndrome that we saw today, and that same die nannic exists here. >> how bad the situation there? >> it is a catastrophe few. such a the accomplice -- after
the soviet invasion many the jihad following that. it is on path with rwanda and bosnia. 7 million people are displaced. 5 million trapped inside syria. people. people dying not only from the violence, but also from simple preventable diseases. infectious diseases. 60 to 8% of hospitals are destroyed or damaged. getting clean water, it is all a terrible daily struggle. will the bombing make it worse? if there is bombing. >> hard to tell. we are planning for a number of different outcomes. obviously military intervention few humanitarian purposes -- has a mixed record in practice, and there are a lot of unintended con wednesdays.
so question are premire we are preparing for more internal displacement. two syrians are the most desperately in need of it. they are trapped inside the country, and that's where it is most difficult to get the aid in. >> we will have to see what happens and just wish all those people that have been displaced the best. we thank you very much for joining us tonight on consider this. and coming up, the war on drugs takes a surprising turn. why did the attorney general do an about face today on legalized marijuana? we will be right back. program lap
in tonight's data dive, where have all the lawyers gone. the law school reports that the number of people taking the l sat dropped 16.4% last year to its lowest level since 1999. now the report nine out of the top 10 elite law schools saw a drop in the number of grads ranges from 12% to more than 30%. two american bar associations say the number of applicants dropped 13.4% this year, to about 55,706ty. given the normal drop out from applicants to people who actually enroll, put the number of actual students at 38,000 that would be the lossest since 1977 when there were two dozen fewer law scoots. using numbers from the bureau
statistics lawyer still do well and come in fifth on the list of the best paid career making an averaging of on $130,000 a year. you could be a pilot, sales manager and air traffic controller and they all get to skip that crazy post fredette. doctors and surgeons top the list, it seem as lot of students will choose to save lives've saving people from jail. the association of american medical colleges announced this year, that they are on track to increase enrollment by 30% from 2002 to 2017 from about 16,500, to 21,400. now all this talk of potential lawyers changing directions may recall an old joke, why didn't the telemarketer feel so bad about his career, at least he wasn't a lawyer. i'm a recovering attorney. coming up the nfl settles a
with more than 4500 former players over concussion related lawsuits. but why did the nfl settle? football players know they will face certain risks and not all players supported the lawsuit. >> they have a right to come out at some point, but at the same time, some guys are doing it because they didn't make the same as ray rice is making now. where does the nfl go from here, and does that have any impact on the game. we are joined by peter keepny. and on the phone from wheeling w. >> , we are joined by robert fitzsimmons. and his disability claim, he is a co finder of the brain injury research center and has been a very strong motivating force behind this lawsuit and the efforts to figure out what has been happening to all these players.
and box, you won a major lawsuit for an nfl player for disabilities retted to concussions. but if you ask anage person they would say well, football is a risesy violent sport, so why did the nfl settle. >> i think there's a lot of issues concerning defenses and that's one of the major ones that people talk about is the assumption of the risk, that you are engaged in activity that there will be injuries. so that was one of the defenses and i suspect that there were multiple defenses that were statute of limitations for filing timely because of these retired players were injured years ago, which was another issue, and then the collective bargaining agreement was probably a principle defense that i think that with those kind of defenses sometimes it is better to take some amount of money to try to distribute it among those that are significantly injured. and then also there's an aspect
to this that does put money entourage to try to make the game safer, which is most all this research i think everybody is in it hopefully to make the game safer. and so try to make it so that people don't have do bear the injuried that they have, and the symptoms that do along with that, and to try to come up with a treatment plan. there is that aspect of it also. the settlement wasn't as large as some had expected. does that signal the case wasn't as strong? >> i think what it signals is there are a lot of hurting players who need help now. players that are older, severely injured players that are facing long term decline. i saw a statement from kevin turner who has alc. >> we have a statement from kevin turner, why don't we listen to that right now. >> yeah, okay.
>> . >> it is heart breaking to listen to that, peter. >> yeah. you know he went on to say that he might no be around in ten years but at least now he knows he will be able to pass something on to his children, and his family. having said that, and without ever wanting to minimize the help that the settlement will provide to players in situations like that. the nfl has no admission of wrongdoing in this settlement. a big reason why they settled is because this is getting to be an awful lot like the big tobacco cases. and now they don't have to tell
a croom what it knew about concussions. we hear all the time that players knew the risks. that argument brings up a counter argument. what was the league, and doctors and trainers what were they telling players. were they adequately informing players of the risks of playing football. and i think there is a really strong argument that the answer is no. there was a rule together -- >> right, was the head of a medical group. and bob, you were pushing this issue very early on, and you were getting stone walled by the nfl. at least you felt you were. there was a finding by the nfl pension board, of course it is the pension board, which is not necessarily the nfl. in fact the commissioners at that type in 98, representative was on it. they made a specific finding in mike's case in 1998, that
football related activities caused him brain injury. the committee that talked about it. that there was any causal link between the pain injuries and the contact that one stays in the game of football. >> do you think the nfl concealed evidence it had? >> you know, i don't know enough about the lawsuit. i stayed out of it because i preperred to do the research, that may sound crazy, i did. we have been advancing the research, and trying to come up with techniques now that can detect protein in the brain which would be some evidence that there had been some forms of trauma.
that could be linked into football. i think the science is more important. i am more interesting in the health of players, it is a game we love. we all enjoy it, let's try to make it safer and help these people that are injured like the player that just talked right there. boy, that was sad, he could barely get his words out. but i think everybody was hanging on their chair listening to it. >> well, there are 18,000 former players who could be eligible for the settlement, even though there was 4500 in the lawsuit. let's look at how the settlement breaks down. 675 go to players or their families and payouts will vary by individual. the settlement also includes access to a brain arecessment program, and the chance for more
testing and treatment of those that develop als. alzheimerss, severe dementia. they will receive a benefit that could be as high as $5 million. and relatives of players who have committeds is. peter, these numbers sound big, put when you look at the average player, it's not that much. is there a down side for the players? >> well, the down side is that they settled for an amount that is a fraction of nfl revenues in a given year. two pay out is going to happen over 20 years $382 million of this will come in the first three years. the rest can get paid out over 17 years follows. by which point the nfl will be making -- probably be taking in something like $15 billion a year in revenues. and each team will have to contribute about $700,000 in the 17th or the 20th year down the
road. so the down side is it may not be enough, and the down side for the player that don't like this, we don't know what is going to happen. anybody will have a chance to pursue litigation, the down side for them is even greater. they may get nothing. puck libbed pailer after paperers iing that protocols were okay. they found there was no problem. >> that changed that not too long ago beverage that there was no cumulative impact of concussions. so that has been out there for a while, and the down side is that players didn't get as much as they could have as a result of the nfl doing all that work. >> we are getting some response on social media. >> robert, john solomon on
twitter wants to know, what does the nfl details mean for ncaa concussion lawsuit talk? >> there's a similar lawsuit, it is a parallel lawsuit with similar allegations there are different allegations in the ncaa litigation. but i think it took precedence to some extent, that this big business the nfl is paying money and trying to resolve the case, i think there are similar issues in the ncaa case, but there are different issues. i think it is doing to make the plaintiffs lawyers and the people representing them look at that and say is this a better thing to do. let's come in, and get some money, address the problem, pay those that are injuried to the extent we can and move on. but the problem is the numbers are just astronomical.
any guy that has played in division one, aa, it makes a big difference. it may make people take a second look at it. and look for a resolution. >> president obama talks earlier this year, and eh said he was a big fool fan, but that he would have to tell you if he had a son he would have to think long and hard before he let him play football, i play football, i do not want my son to play football, i wonder what this will mean for the game in the future. la lap no decision yet on when to